Book Reviews – August 2013 – Sallie Eden

As the holiday season gets underway here are some books you might like to pack (subject to taste), all except the final two are available in electronic format. They aren’t necessarily recommendations, so no star ratings, but (I hope) a reasonable range of options just in case the sun doesn’t shine every day.

hippoFirstly, The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith.  Regular readers won’t be disappointed and new readers are in for a treat. There are changes ahead – the end of an era at the orphanage; the construction of a house for the newly married Radiphutis and problems for the apprentices. Mma Ramotswe and Mma Makutsi (now Mma Radiphuti, but retaining her maiden name for business purposes, as befits a woman scoring 97% in her final exams) finally meet their hero, the legendary author and renowned detective, Clovis Andersen. But all is not as it seems. And what of Mma Makutsi’s shoes? They are even more vocal than usual. A lovingly written and well-crafted story. And, in case you were wondering…right and decency triumph in the end.

fishFish Change Direction in Cold Weather by Pierre Szalowski is the story of a 10 year old whose parents split up. He asks the sky to help him. Does it? You be the judge… Quirky and heart-warming, with characters you really care about.

bowLiked 50 Shades of Grey?  Then you might want to try something a bit more colourful; The Bow Wow Club by Nicola May opens with the words “Bang! Bang! Bang!” What can I say? That sets the tone for what follows!

(Reviewer’s note: I haven’t read 50 Shades as it’s not my sort of book, so the comparison might not be fair.)

seachangeSet in Wiltshire, London and India, The Sea Change by Joanna Rossiter is the story of three generations of women. Covering a period of around 70 years, starting with the years immediately prior to the Second World War, the women are haunted by memories of home and the men in their lives. Can any of them truly break from the past? This is Rossiter’s debut novel and it suggests a future of quality writing. A complex story, encompassing tragedy, misunderstanding and heartbreak, with one or two surprises along the way.

tylerAnd for a really good novel by an established and highly regarded author, what about The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler?  Patrick Gale likes her writing; need I say more?

tremanyonReaders who enjoyed Carol Symons’ historical saga, Tremanyon – A Shadow Falls, will want to read the sequel, Tremanyon – Time brings many changes.  As before, it is based on and around the Roseland peninsula and draws on the history of mining in the area as well as looking at events further afield.

mosaicsIf you prefer something improving, Garden Mosaics by Becky Paton might be just the thing if your holiday in the Med or the Middle East inspires you to use mosaics to decorate your garden. There are ideas, clear guidance on what to do and how to do it. The Cone Planters would look amazing on my terrace during those long hot English Summer evenings…any volunteers?

gosailingAn oldie but a goodie, RYA Go Sailing: A Practical Guide for Young People (Royal Yachting Association) is still relevant. Aimed at children aged 7-11, it’s a readable, interesting and fun introduction to sailing. Adults might learn something too. Just the thing to read before a trip to St Mawes; Junior Sail Training anyone?

stickerFor very young children, although probably not suitable for children under three because of the size of the stickers, what about Holiday, an Usborne First Sticker Book, by Jessica Greenwell and Stacey Lamb? Based on various holiday scenes and events, there are around 150 stickers to decorate the pages. Something for the journey, to pass the time and build the excitement.

airportFor slightly older children, the Airport Sticker Book (another of Usborne Spotter’s Sticker Guides) by Struan Reid and Andy Tudor contains over 60 things to spot at an airport. There are descriptions of airport buildings, vehicles and planes with stickers to aid involvement and form a log of what is spotted, when and where.

Whatever you’re planning and wherever you’re going, I wish you happy reading and bon voyage.

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